This is not a dystopian thought experiment; this is a real possibility. Your children and grandchildren could grow up in a world where they don’t have the ability to make the sort of family planning decisions that my generation took for granted.
No one cares if an ugly man grabs at power. Men are allowed to yell and shake their fists and get angry and make demands. Women are expected to say “please” and “thank you” and to keep their voices down.
It’s sort of like a person on a diet who knows the only way he’ll be able to resist the temptation of ice cream is to avoid bringing ice cream into his home. But women are not ice cream. We’re not optional or frivolous or bad for your health. Women are like water. You actually need us to survive.
When a man brags about his talent, people cheer. But women? Women are expected to show some humility, even when they’ve earned the right to crow. And it makes sense, I guess, because if we start letting women act like men on the field, they might want to be treated like men off the field.
Can you imagine what would happen if a man were forced to get outside permission to take Viagra or to have a vasectomy? Suppose we made men stand before a court of mostly women and justify their medical decisions. Perhaps we’d ask men to explain in great detail why they have so much trouble maintaining an erection or why they’ve decided to eliminate future potential children. Maybe we’d tell men that impotence is a sign that God doesn’t want them to have sex and that they have no right to interfere with God’s plans.
For decades women have chased equality by asserting we deserve the same rights as men—the right to make our own medical decisions, for example. But perhaps we’re going about it all wrong. Instead, we should enforce equality by giving men more responsibility and offering them fewer choices.
In the year 2000 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission declared that employer-provided health insurance must cover contraception. It was clearly discriminatory to deny women coverage for a safe, widely used, highly effective preventive medication. This was a solid decade before the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) went into effect, eight years before Obama was elected. But this week, Trump announced he would roll back the ACA mandate that insures contraceptive coverage as part of the preventive healthcare provisions. Trump and the…